The Plot Against America is some of the most gripping television I’ve seen in a long time. Almost every one of the six episodes made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s a terrifying, and utterly believable, portrayal of how fascism might have come to America.
The HBO miniseries is a loose adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 alternate-history novel of the same name. I read it some ten years ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I did notice some of the supporting characters have been given larger roles in the series and the ending is significantly changed. (Vulture has a recap of all the differences and Slate has more about why the creators of the miniseries changed the ending.)
The basic plot is the same, though: aviator hero and America Firster (the original) Charles Lindbergh runs in the 1940 presidential election on a promise to keep the United States out of World War II and wins. His victory gives license to antisemites, some of whom are in the cabinet. Lindbergh signs a treaty with Hitler and stays silent when American Jews are killed in pogroms.
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Tyler Florence is an artist from Canada, many of whose artworks are set in the fictional world of Project: Diesel Pirate.
It is a world in which anthropomorphic animals, called aetherans, live in massive cities in the skies of planet Aether. There are flying wales, fast trains and everything is styled like our world of the 1910s-40s.
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It’s not exactly vintage, as these are newly made hats in vintage styles, but dieselpunk fans will want to know about Karen Back’s The Heritage Milliner, a UK-based milliner who creates ladies hats in the styles of the era.
Finding vintage-style headbands is easy enough. Instagram and Etsy are rife with small shops making them. If you’re not too set on historical accuracy, you can also find nice things in the usual high-street locale.
But for hats, the usual options are paying a pretty penny for true vintage or scouring thrift stores in hopes of finding one on the cheap.
The Heritage Milliner provides a much needed middle road. Not only are her hats high-quality; she has a wonderful choice in types of hats and an immense variety of color.
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Reichbusters: Projekt Vril is cooperative action-adventure board game by Mythic Games set in late 1944. The Nazis have discovered a mysterious energy source known as vril that could change the outcome of the war. An elite team of over-the-top Allied operatives, called the Reichbusters, are sent in to eradicate this new threat before it is too late.
The art is by Guillem H. Pongiluppi from Barcelona, Spain.
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Igor Artyomenko is an American artist, originally from Kazakhstan, who has an knack for drawing midcentury warplanes.
His work also includes a steampunk town, a Blade Runner-esque future city and what looks like a steampunk’d version of the huge ion cannon from Star Wars.
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Reviews of Hunters, which is streaming on Amazon Prime, are all over the place. Some praise it as a “bold experiment” that is “visually ostentatious.” Others lament its “cartoonish tone and historical fabrications.”
Much of the criticism centers on the series making up stories about the Holocaust and showing Jews murdering war criminals in cold blood. The director of the USC Shoah Foundation, Stephen D. Smith, has gone so far as to ask Amazon not to renew the show for a second season.
In fairness, Hunters does grapple with the revenge-or-justice question. Famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal even makes an appearance (played by Judd Hirsch) to argue with Al Pacino’s character, Meyer Offerman, about the morality of killing (former) Nazis. The story arc of Offerman’s protégé, Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman), is all about deciding when, if ever, it is right to kill.
As for the show’s “cartoonish tone”, what the critics miss is that Hunters is pulp. Which is why I’m categorizing this review as dieselpunk, despite the series taking place in the 1970s.
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From Stalin’s megalomanic Palace of the Soviets to an aerodynamically shaped headquarters for the Soviet airline Aeroflot, visit the Moscow that never was.
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Yakov Chernikhov (1889-1951) was a Russian constructivist architect and graphic designer, born in what is now Ukraine.
He set out his ideas in a number of books published in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but his (for the time) unconventional style did not win him many friends and favors under Joseph Stalin.
His later work, of which examples are shown below, was closer to the Stalinist Empire style — but they don’t exactly suggest he thought life in the Soviet Union was a happy one.
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Aurora Noir is a dieselpunk world created by Israeli artist Tim Razumovsky. It’s full of streamlined vehicles, mobsters, chrome robots and Art Deco architecture. The city’s Aurora Springs Hotel seems to have been inspired by Eliel Saarinen’s Helsinki Central Station.
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J. Otto Szatmari is an Hungarian digital artist, whose work includes floating cities, a flooded early-twentieth-century steampunk New York and poster art for the exciting dieselpunk project Acropolisworld.
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